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October 25, 2007
Arson to Blame for Some California Fires
Police arrested one man and killed another who were seen setting fires north of San Diego:
In San Bernardino County, a man suspected of starting a small fire was arrested and another man was shot to death by police after he fled officers who approached to see if he might be trying to set a fire. With all the furies in the world descending upon the people of Southern California, the idea that there are idiots out there who only want to make the situation worse by setting more fires in the bone dry brush is incomprehensible.
Wildfires, burning in seven counties, had destroyed about 1,500 homes and caused more than a half-million people to flee since the first blaze began late Saturday. At least two — in Orange and Riverside counties — have been linked to arson.
Throughout the region, authorities stepped up patrols in hopes of preventing copycat fires and looting. In San Diego County, sheriff's officials have reported scattered instances of looting in fire zones. Two people have been arrested. Orange County officials converged on a remote area of bone-dry brush where a 19,200-acre wildfire has destroyed nine homes.
They were aided by special teams from the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The federal government planned to send more agents from around the country to help with the probe.
Even if the fires set did no damage, they should throw the book at the one arsonist who was arrested for the intent to add to people's suffering. At the very least, they would be making an example of him so that anyone else who gets the bright idea to start their own wildfire will think twice before doing so.